The Biggest and the Baddest from France | An insight into Marseille vs PSG Rivalry

The Le Classique, also known as Derby de France, is the French equivalent of the El Clasico. Being played between Marseille and PSG, the fixture attracts the animosity of the highest level. Someone mentioned that a match between Marseille and PSG is like gang warfare. Marseille are notoriously known as Les Phoceens or the bad boys. And there are 2 major PSG supporters groups, one is called the Kop of Boulogne Boys (KOB) and the other one is Supras Auteuil. Absolutely no love lost between the two sides.

Olympique de Marseille  & Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fans have loathed each other for decades as they are the two biggest football clubs in France. They are the two richest clubs in France and the two clubs that have the most number of supporters. Matches between both the clubs have been tremendously violent, both on & off the field and now there is a certain Joey Barton in Marseille, to make things interesting.

The working class of Marseille against the glamour of PSG, the catalyst which invokes the rivalry between the two sides. Marseille has been involved in the top league for a long time but PSG came into contention in 1970. The first match between Marseille and PSG took place on 12 December 1971. A match between both sides is watched by a majority of football fans in France.

The rivalry kicked off during the 80s as both sides were serious contenders for the Ligue 1 title. Marseille has won 9 Ligue 1 titles as compared to 2 by PSG. But under current manager Carlo Ancelotti, the situation is a little different now as PSG has got the backing from their Qatari owners to buy whoever they want, literally. And they bought quite significantly, getting Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Thiago Silva from AC Milan. Also players like Javier Pastore and Gregory Van Der Wiel.

Also, then PSG owners Canal + and Marseille owner Bernard Tapie were in a great tussle to have the stranglehold in this fixture. Both set of owners went to great lengths in order to unsettle each other.

But some of the greatest players have played for both Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille. The likes of Youri Djorkaeff, Ronaldinho & Pauleta for PSG and Jean-Pierre Papin, Drogba for Marseille.

The rivalry is up there with the best of its kind. Similar to the atmosphere in any Real Madrid vs Barcelona, AC Milan vs Inter Milan, Liverpool vs Everton fixtures.

Quick research in Wikipedia gives us these grim figures.

DateIncidents & Number of Arrests
11-Apr-95146 arrests
12-Oct-99A Bus was charred
13-Oct-00an 18 year old Marseille fan was paralyzed
10-Feb-0215 arrest, cars damaged, a fire inside Parc des Princes
26-Oct-0261 arrests
25-Jan-0343 arrests
09-Mar-0327 people injured
29-Apr-062 people injured
02-Sep-073 people injured & 5 arrests
15-Mar-0922 arrests
25-Oct-0910 arrests, 10 people injured and a PSG fan was brutally hit by a car
20-Nov-0915 arrest
28-Feb-1020 arrests